Many of us never think about the fact that our eyes work and we can see well enough to have a good life. But the human eye is an incredibly intricate and delicate piece of the body and we should be extremely grateful to those medical consultants who look after our vision.
The precise term for the medical specialisation relating to the eye is ophthalmology – an amalgamation of two Greek words which literally translate as ‘the science of eyes’. As the human eye can demand both medical and surgical understanding, ophthalmologists are considered to be specialists in both fields.
Even back in 800 BCE, medical men had sufficient understanding of the human eye to be able to assess a number of eye complaints and to have suggested effective surgical procedures and equipment to manage to treat some conditions, and throughout the centuries scientists and specialists have increased their knowledge of the human eye and created treatments for numerous conditions.
Back in 1805, the very first dedicated ophthalmic hospital opened its doors in London, and it still exists now under its current title of Moorfields Eye Hospital. The hospital is now a global centre of excellence for groundbreaking research to improve the diagnosis and treatment of all illnesses and other complaints that could affect the human eye.
To become an ophthalmologist, a medical student will have to go through several years of detailed specialist training, working alongside qualified ophthalmologists to gain the required skills before eventually qualifying as a consultant. A number of consultant ophthalmologists specialise in eye problems which are of particular interest to them and will have specialist clinics for patients with those specific complaints.
A lot of people probably don’t understand just how much more an ophthalmologist is qualified to do as opposed to the optician who we make an appointment with for simple eye tests and for prescriptions for glasses or contact lenses. But for all issues that require actual surgery – whether a conventional operation or Laser eye surgery, an optician must send the patient to an ophthalmologist to be treated.
When a patient is passed on to the expert consultant, all sorts of eye treatments can be suggested. Advances in technology in recent years mean that the standard of diagnosis, and consequently treatment, continues to improve and a lot of procedures now are completed at an outpatients appointment with a local anaesthetic rather than the patient having to be hospitalised for any period of time. Some of the most innovative improvements have been brought about by the increasing employment of Laser eye treatments, as these basically use the Laser eye beam to treat the the area requiring surgery, rather than needing to use actual surgical instruments, which results in far less likelihood of problems or infection.
Some of the more complicated vision complaints can often be affected by other health problems, and so the ophthalmologist will work together with the other consultants who are providing treatment. And of course, a lot of problems with the eyes including cataracts and glaucoma tend to be age related, so there has to be a good knowledge of other problems which can affect the more mature patient – not particularly issues associated with the eye complaint, but problems including mobility or breathing difficulties.
Luckily, most people live their lives with their only sight problems being the need to wear glasses or contact lenses at some point. But for individuals who have more unpleasant eye complaints, it is good to know that treatment is continuing to evolve and get better with each year that passes, whether it be more precise Laser eye surgery, more delicate instruments for cataract removal or quicker diagnosis and treatment of more unusual problems.
Tags: Health and Fitness